Marvin Glen ShieldsConstruction Mechanic 3rd Class
TEAM 1104, NMCB-11, MACV
United States Navy
30 December 1939 - 10 June 1965
Port Townsend, Washington
Panel 02E Line 007
The database page for Marvin Glen Shields
He died as he lived, for his friends
My dad is CM3 Marvin Glenn Shields. He was born 30 December 1939 in Port Townsend, WA. After graduating from high school in 1958, he worked in the gold mines of Hyder, Alaska. He joined the Navy as a Seabee in 1962. After being stationed in Glynco, GA; Okinawa; and Port Hueneme, CA, he was sent to Vietnam in February 1965. While in Vietnam he was attached to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) , 1st Special Forces. My father was mortally wounded during an ambush at Dong Xoai and died 10 June 1965. For their actions during that battle 2LT Charles Q. Williams and my father were awarded the Medal of Honor.
The original memorial to my Dad is
Notes from The Virtual Wall
"While they were primarily builders and instructors, Seabee Team members were sometimes directly involved in battle. Perhaps the most famous such battle occurred in June 1965 at Dong Xoai, 55 miles northeast of Saigon. When Viet Cong troops overran a Special Forces Camp containing 400 South Vietnamese and allied Asian troops, 11 men of a U.S. Army Special Forces team and nine men of Seabee Team 1104, seven of the Seabees were wounded and two killed. One of the dead was Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields, USN, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in carrying a critically wounded man to safety and in destroying a Viet Cong machine gun emplacement at the cost of his life. Not only was Marvin Shields the first Seabee to win the nation's highest award, but he was also the first Navy man to be so decorated for action in Vietnam."
The Special Forces camp at Dong Xoai, a district capital in Phuoc Long Province, was established in late May 1965. In addition to the Army Special Forces personnel, a Navy SeaBee team was provided to assist in construction of the compound. Since Dong Xoai lay astride a Viet Cong supply route from Cambodia into War Zone D enemy commanders had good reason to destroy the encampment before it was finished. At about 11 PM on the night of 9 June, the South Vietnamese forces around Dong Xoai were attacked by the 762nd and 763rd VC Regiments and beginning about 11:30 PM the camp itself came under heavy mortar and ground attack.
Aerial view of Dong Xoai Camp (1965)
(Photo courtesy Joe D. Newsome)
Since the earthen berm and defensive positions around the compound had not been completed, the VC had little difficulty in penetrating the perimeter and overrunning much of the camp. Bitter fighting continued through the night, with the defenders pushed back further into the camp. Air and artillery support was used to prevent the VC forces from massing for a final assault, and at dawn on 10 June the defenders were still holding out. Elements of the 1st Bn, 7th ARVN Regiment were inserted into two landing zones at about 0800, but the VC had anticipated the move and both LZs were very well defended. One helicopter with 7 Americans aboard was destroyed, and the ARVN units which did make it onto the ground were rapidly destroyed as well. Although further landings were held in abeyance, helicopters from the 118th Aviation Company did manage to pull out a dozen or so survivors from the camp proper.
In the afternoon, after heavy air strikes, the 52nd ARVN Ranger Battalion was inserted a short distance from the camp and by sundown had fought their way not only into the camp but into Dong Xoai city itself. Additional ARVN forces were brought in on 11 June, but by then the majority of the surviving VC forces had withdrawn into the jungles north of the camp area.
The final US casualty at Dong Xoai was an Air Force pilot, Captain Thomas Holland, who was shot down on 12 June while making a rocket attack on a VC position. Captain Holland was able to eject but his parachute tangled in a tree, leaving him dangling above the ground. An Army Huey landed about 200 meters away and two crewmen ran toward Holland's position, arriving just in time to see the VC shoot Captain Holland; they made it back to their helo barely ahead of pursuing VC.
Two Medals of Honor, at least one Distnguished Service Cross, one Air Force Cross, and a number of Silver Stars and lesser awards for valor were won at Dong Xoai, but nineteen US servicemen died in the fighting:
USS MARVIN G SHIELDS (FF-1066)
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 01 Sep 1998
Last updated 08/10/2009